Joseph King, Senior Vice President, JDA Cloud Services
The basic benefits of moving to cloud-based software are well understood: rapid time to value, low up-front costs, limitless on-demand computing capacity, and a model that allows you to pay only for what you use. With these attributes in mind, it’s important to look for a cloud-based software provider that gives you access to industry-leading solutions without the traditional implementation and maintenance costs.
The cloud isn't just about capacity. It's also about capability — the ability to deliver total solutions that encompass not only the infrastructure and software but also rich expertise that helps IT organizations to streamline processes, reduce risk, and expedite business results.
This article shares these insights from behind the curtain at a software vendor, showing how the transformative nature of cloud solutions can immediately yield tremendous value for your enterprise and continue delivering these benefits over the long haul.
Maximizing business value
Your cloud-based software vendor should offer a standardized approach to the infrastructure and the processes to manage it. This can enable IT to focus on using the software vendor’s solutions instead of having to add additional resources and costs to manage and maintain them in-house. This approach translates into rapid ramp-up and lower total cost of ownership.
By taking over the care and feeding of the hardware and platforms on which the solution runs, a provider enables IT to focus on maximizing the business value of the solution. For JDA, we were able to bring our expertise in supply chain management directly to IT organizations to help them get the most value from the solutions, onboarding rapidly and getting access to the latest upgrades as soon as they were available.
The service JDA provides, for example, rests on high-quality computing resources, complies with stringent IT protocols, and incorporates the latest technology advancements. Standards and processes enable rapid, reliable onboarding of customers.
All these components are critical requirements for success in the cloud. But they aren't enough. These components deliver the capacity customers expect. But capacity is just the beginning.
Strategies for success
Cloud strategies can vary dramatically based on industry, size, and business philosophy, as well as many other factors. However, successful strategies have several things in common. They include an assessment of your solutions and an analysis of your requirements. Review your internal business processes to determine which should be supported in-house versus supported via cloud-based software vendors. A good way to get started on performing this analysis is to take an inventory of your software applications and your ability to manage, update, and scale them within your own environment. Then, based on your business requirements and available alternatives, determine which applications can be acquired more cost effectively from a cloud-based software vendor.
As the burden of installing, operating, or maintaining software shifts from you to your vendor, the four phases of the software lifecycle shift as well — to launch, perform, optimize, and continually improve. In this transition, as the consumer of the software, you should expect to see benefits across the board as both you and your vendor evolve. Many software vendors, unlike JDA software, are embarking on their own path. However, making the move on your own has risks because a partner with expertise can apply proven best practices to making your transition successful and can help you meet business goals more quickly. That's why it's a good idea to seek out a partner in this evolution that you can depend on to prioritize customer value throughout your use of their service.
Phase one: prepare to launch
Software vendors must have the hardware and software capacity ready or near-ready so they can have a customer system running in days instead of the months typically required for an on-premise solution. To help you choose a vendor with experience in working with customers through the launch phase, ask the following questions:
For JDA software, we found a different infrastructure configuration, deployment process, and delivery mechanism for each customer using our software. It was clear that our customers were spending too much time deploying, managing, and maintaining the systems, rather than deriving benefits from the solutions. Understanding this gap in time-to-value prompted the JDA leadership team to develop our initial hosted alternative to our on-premise software.
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